Do home solar panels make sense in Chico, California?

Summary:

The median price of a 6 kilowatt home solar system in Chico is about  $11,031.
That 6 kW system would generate about  $1,807 worth of electricity every year.
In 2019, you can qualify for a  30% federal tax credit. In California, there are additional solar rebates available.
There are at least  20,813 homes in Buffalo with solar panels.
Learn more

Table of Contents:



How much do solar panels cost in Chico, CA?

The average cost per watt of residential solar in California is $4/watt. For comparison, the national average is $3.70/watt.

Cost per watt is the total installed cost of a system, including taxes, divided by the size of the system in watts (DC). It includes the cost of hardware plus installation costs. Cost per watt is always the gross cost, before incentives. This means, at a minimum, you can take 30% off the price of the system in 2019 because of federal tax incentives.

The cost of a solar panel system for your house in Chico will depend on how much electricity you want to generate, which affects the size of the system you’ll need. The following is an example price estimate for a home solar panel system in Chico, with an electricity generation estimate based on the local climate and the following assumptions:

• 554 kWh is the amount of electricity that the average California home uses every month.
• 4.04 kilowatts is the size of the system you’ll need to generate 100% of this electricity from solar panels.
• 10 to 16 panels is what that translates to (depending on panel efficiency, which commonly ranges from 260 watts to 400 watts)
• Panels oriented due south and mounted on a shade-free roof at a 30° angle.

Gross system price$15,759This is the price of your system plus taxes but before incentives, based on an average cost of solar in your state of $4 per watt.
Federal tax credit of 30%$4,728The most important solar incentive in the nation, the federal solar tax credit, gives homeowners 30% off the cost of their system in 2019. It drops to 26% next year. Read more
Net system price:$11,031

This estimate is based on averages but your home, of course, may be different. For a personalized estimate, grab a copy of your utility bill and use our calculator to plug in the numbers for your home.



Can you save money with solar panels in Chico, CA?

Every year, that hypothetical Chico home solar system described above would produce about $1,807 worth of electricity. This is based on the California state average price of electricity of $0.18/kWh and the average local climate.

But that’s just a home with average electricity usage. You might need more or fewer solar panels, depending on how much electricity you want to generate. Also, shade matters a lot. If you have trees or buildings throwing shadows on your roof, that could reduce your solar production by a lot.



Houses in Chico with solar panels

According to our data from various local agencies, there are at least 3,707 homes in Chico that have solar panels installed. This means a lot of your neighbors have looked into solar and decided that it’s a smart choice for them. If you add up the total generating capacity of these solar panel systems, you get a total of 24,385 kilowatts of solar electricity that is being sent into your local electricity grid.

If you’re trying to decide if solar is right for you, this is good news. Having a lot of solar homes means that you will have more local contractors to choose from. You can also feel more confident about going solar, because many of your neighbors in Chico have already decided that solar is a smart choice for them.



Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity. This means that the more sunlight, the better. However, one misconception is that solar panels only work in very sunny climates. While it’s true that you will generate more electricity in a sunny state like Arizona, you might be surprised to learn that solar can generate plenty of electricity in most places in the United States - even cloudier places like New England or the Northwest.



Chico solar energy potential

To make a fair comparison of how much sunlight different cities get, we use a measurement called Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). It takes into account the position of the sun in the sky throughout the year, cloud cover, airborne particulates, precipitation, and other climate variables.

The DNI for Chico is 6.29, which means that it has excellent solar potential.

6.29

In Chico, you’ll generate a lot of solar electricity throughout the year, which helps to shorten the amount of time is takes for a solar panel system to pay for itself.

In the continental United States, DNI ranges from about 3.0 to 8.5 kWh/m2/day. In the most northern parts of Alaska, the DNI reaches a low of 0.5.

A higher DNI means more sunshine and more electricity generation by solar panels, but solar can be viable even with a lower DNI. For example, Germany has widespread solar PV, but a DNI of only about 2.5.

This DNI data comes from GEOS geostationary satellite data and NREL climate models.

Chico
US low
US high

In some climates, you’ll see a big difference in sunlight and solar electricity generation from summer to winter. These charts show you what to expect in Chico.

Solar Energy by Month (DNI)


The graph below estimates how much a 6 kilowatt south-facing solar panel system would generate in Chico.

Power Generation by Month (kWh)


In Chico, the electricity production from solar panels will vary by a fair amount seasonally. In an average year, your power generation will be 219% higher in the peak month compared to the lowest production month in winter. This is about average for the United States. It means that you should expect to use some grid electricity in the winter, and send excess solar electricity to the grid in the summer.



Chico, CA solar companies

This is a list of solar home installations we know about within the city limits of Chico, CA.

# of homes refers to the number of installations by the installer in the Chico area that we have a record of. It’s possible that the installer has done more installations in the local area.
Total kW installed is the cumulative solar generation capacity of all the residential installations by the installer in Chico.
Year of the most recent install is the most recent record of work done by the installer in Chico. This lets you know if the company is active in the area, or hasn’t done work in some time (or even gone out of business).
Installer# of homesTotal kW installedYear of most recent install
A ALL AMERICAM REMODELING122017
A5 STARR ENERGY172014
ACRO ENERGY2142012
ADDY ELECTRIC152017
ADVANCEDSOLAR HYDRO WIND POWER122001
AES15842017
AFFORDABLE SOLAR132005
AGRI ELECTRIC1372018
AIREHART CONSTRUCTION1182017
ALL SOLAR8572015
ALLDRIN ENTERPRISE ENERGY ALTERNATIVE3102007
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY7395,3892018
ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM172017
AMABASSADOR ENERGY1102010
ANGELIC CONSTRUCTION142018
APPLIED ELECTRIC162016
ARK CONSTRUCTION10522016
ASOLIA142016
ASOLIA NEW ENERGY4172018
BALKEN CONSTRUCTION132016
BALLARD CONSTRUCTION182015
BASAD CONSTRUCTION16882016
BAUMAN ELECTRIC COMPANY2142012
BB HARVEY CONSTRUCTION172010
BB SOLAR2282016
BEYOND OIL SOLAR122005
BJK CONSTRUCTION12982018
BRETT HIGHTOWER142012
BRIAN PUSTEJOVSKY162017
BRIGHT PLANET SOLAR142018
BRIGHT SOLAR CAPITAL1122016
CALFORNIA SOLAR192018
CAPITAL CITY SOLAR142008
CARLSON ELECTRIC182015
CARRIERE DESIGN BUILD1132017
CES121182018
CHICO ELECTRIC1541,0662018
CHICO SOLAR WORK8672018
CHINCHEN ELECTRIC2172016
CLIFF JOHNSEN132009
CLIMATE ENERGY1901,2172018
CLMATE ENERGY SOLUTION122015
COGENERATION TECHNOLOGY5162006
COMPLETE SOLAR4332018
CONERGY PROJECT4222008
CRANE EXTERIOR584432018
DANIEL DAILEY CONSTRUCTION152017
DAVE BECK ELECTRIC182007
DEADMOND BROTHER CONSTRUCTION132016
DUKE ELECTRIC172009
DURHAM ELECTRIC7422018
EARTH GROUND CONSTR132018
EARTH GROUND CONSTRUCTION152015
EFFCIENT ENERGY CONCEPT161242018
EFFICIENT ENERGY CONSULTANT1112018
EGAN ELECTRIC7612015
ELECTRIC SOLAR142017
ELITE ELECTRIC152017
ENABLE ENERGY142017
ENEGY SAVING PRO2152018
ENERGY ALTERNATIVE11352005
EPIC HOME SOLAR152016
EQUISOLAR292017
ESSEX HEATING AIR172018
EVERGREEN172018
EVERGREEN DEVELOPEMENT15742007
FOOTHILL SOLAR3142016
FREEDOM FOREVER14842018
FREEDOM SOLAR5412018
GALLI DESIGN182006
GD MACKENZY152010
GOODMAN SERVICE1162009
GRAHAM SOLAR172018
GRANITE BAY3272011
GREEN CONSTRUCTION132013
GREEN LOTU CONSTRUCTION132007
GREG TOMSIK142009
GRID ALTERNATIVE651692018
HALCYON SOLAR4292016
HAWE ELECTRIC112016
HELIO ELECTRIC5272012
HELIO POWER5332009
HOFMANN BUILDEER2142017
HOME STEAD HEATING AIR CONDITIONING CON2152017
HOME STEAD HEATING AIR CONSTRUCTION S182017
HOOKED ON SOLAR12822018
HUHN ELECTRIC132016
ILUM SLAR6472018
INFINITY13992016
INTEGRITY152018
INTER IOR INNOVATION1112015
ION SOLAR12662018
IRA SMITH CONSTRUCTION132016
JAJ ROOFIN2132018
JOIN SOLAR513262018
JP SON4282015
JWL1122017
K2 DEVELOPMENT COMPANY172010
KNOLLE ELECTRIC172016
LA RRY PATRICK KNADLER162012
LA SOLAR132018
LIFESTYLE SOLAR2132018
LIGHT IT UP ELECTRIC14692015
LIGHT IT UP SOLAR412372018
MAC ELECTRIC172017
MACMICHAEL ELECTRIC192018
MARK BALKEN CONSTRUCTION162015
MARK SOLAR10752018
MATT WEBB CONSTRUCTION162016
MCCLELLAND AIR CONDITIONING142018
MCFERRIN AND8392010
MD ELECTRIC132009
MENARD SYSTEM2162017
MH ELECTRIC142018
MICHAEL GALLI DESIGN USE E2142005
MILE ELECTRIC1182016
NEXT SOLAR152018
NEXU ENERGY3182018
NORTH VALLEYSYSTEM14762011
NORTHWEST EXT142017
NRG172017
OAK TREE CONSTRUCTION162010
OUR SOLAR HOME1132018
PACIFIC RIM152007
PARAMOUNT ENERGY292013
PATTERSON PATTERSON282011
PEREIRA BUILDING INDUSTRY172018
PERFECTION POOL SPA152012
PETER LEDUC1102018
PETERSEN DEAN5232018
PH192018
PHOENIX ENERGY FULFILLMENT152018
PHOENIX SOLAR211112018
PLAN IGT SOLAR4152008
POWER GRID152011
POWER GRIDINC182014
POWER HOUSE221412016
POWER INDEPENDENCE ELECTRIC THRU HOME DEPOT192004
PREMIER ELECTRIC A JONE GROUP182016
PREMIER POWER RENEWABLE ENERGY1122008
QUALITY FIRSI HOME IMPROVEMENT112011
QUICK SYSTEM2222017
READY MADE RESOURCE122002
REAL GOOD7322012
REC SOLAR442322016
REED FRANCI ELECTRIC172017
REMODELOR301502014
RESPONSIBLE SOLAER5302018
REVOLVE462202016
RITCHY BROTHER CONSTRUCTION172018
RMS BUILDING172012
ROBIN TRENDA GENERAL CONTRACTING182011
ROYAL AIR2691,6462018
RSM ENRGY142016
SCHOTT SOLAR192005
SCOTT SON162009
SCOTT WILLIAM2122018
SELF301592017
SHAMEE ELECTRIC COMPANY152001
SHERATON SERVICE11352016
SHIELD ELECTRIC221402018
SIERRA SOLAR5172007
SINGSHOT POWER4272016
SOLAFIRST142018
SOLAR INSTALL142018
SOLAR NETWORK162015
SOLAR SOURCE152016
SOLAR UNITED NETWORK412492018
SOLAR UNIVERSE3182012
SOLARCITY4142,5412018
SOLCIU4272018
SOMMER CONSTRUCTION3232018
SONRAY11712018
SOUTH AM ASSOCIATE132018
SPECTRUM ENERGY DEVELOPMENT11922017
SPG SOLAR794612014
SST CONSTRUCTION3232017
ST CLAIR CONSTRUCTION5302008
STORNETTA BROTHER CONSTRUCTION12772016
SUN FINITY162018
SUN FINITY SOLAR CA4322018
SUN FIRST172017
SUN LIFE152017
SUN LINE ENERGY3122017
SUN LUX172018
SUN NY ENERGY2172018
SUN ON6292018
SUN VALLEY5272007
SUNGEVITY341852018
SUNPOWER29662018
SUNRISE SOLAR ROOFING192017
SUNRUN905662018
SUNTIME ENERGY BUILDER292017
SWELL SERVICE152017
SYNTROL8532017
SYNTROL PLUMBING HEATING AIR5252016
THE REMODELOR332722018
THE SOLAE QUOTE162017
THURMAN CONSTRUCTION272014
TRUE GREEN ELECTRIC162018
UNITED SUN ENERGY907662018
URBAN2112015
URBAN DESIGN RENOVATION CONSTRUCTION1571,1542018
V3 ELECTRIC2122018
VELOCITY SOLAR4252017
VELOCITY SOLAR POWER4322018
VENTURE SOLAR162018
VERENGO7352018
VILLAGE POWER DESIGN162006
VIVINT3422,2512018
WEBB AIR5282018
WEST HAVEN322122018
WEST VALLEYSOLAR ELECTRIC172016
WILILAM LIFETIME BUILDER152013
WING SOLAR E WOOD ENERGY131102017
YOUR ENERGY SOURCE5232017

Solar panel lease companies in Chico

If you’re thinking about going with a solar lease or PPA, you should first read our guide to solar financing to make sure that you understand the pros and cons of a lease or PPA versus purchasing a system outright. In most cases, you will come out on top by buying your solar panels, even if that means taking out a loan.

That said, leases/PPAs continue to be popular, and they can be a good choice in some cases. There are several national solar installers that offer leases/PPAs, but not all of them operate in every state. Here’s a breakdown of some of the major solar installers that offer these types of contracts, and whether they operate in your state:

CompanyOperates in California ?
SungevityYES
SunnovaYES
SunrunYES
Vivint SolarYES

Looking for solar panel cleaning companies in Chico?

If you’re trying to find a local company that specializes in cleaning solar panels, you should know that it’s probably not worth the cost. Trying to get the maximum number of watts out of your solar array by keeping your panels squeaky clean isn’t worth it if you’re paying $100 or more per visit from a cleaning company. Instead, just let the rain keep your solar panels clean. Rain will do a good enough job for free. If you live in a dry and dusty area or frequently find bird poop or leaves on your panels, invest in some inexpensive equipment to take care of cleaning yourself. Read our guide to solar panel maintenance, which includes tips on solar panel cleaning and a some recommended cleaning equipment.

Contact solar companies in Chico

Want to work with one of these companies? We screen companies to make sure that you work with qualified installers. Use our service to get multiple quotes from quality Chico solar contractors.

Get quotes from solar installers in Chico



Average California electricity prices


The average price of residential electricity in California is 18.31 cents per kilowatt hour, while the average price across the nation is 13.34 cents per kWh.

In other words, you’re paying 37% more for electricity than the average American, making your cost of electricity fairly expensive compared to the nation.

You’re probably not happy about that, so it makes sense to consider going solar.

Regardless of what your electricity prices are, by adding solar panels to your house and generating your own electricity, you’re locking in your cost of electricity for as long as your system is working, which will protect you from future rate increases by your utility. Given that many panels come with 25 year warranties, this is an investment that can last a long time.

Keep in mind that the price of electricity varies by utility, sometimes by a lot. The table below lists the average price of electricity for utilities in California state. For current rates, check with your utility.

Company# CustomersAvg Price (¢/kWh)
Aha Macav Power Service898.18
Anza Electric Coop Inc4,33817.93
Bear Valley Electric Service22,47027.71
City of Alameda30,81118.07
City of Anaheim - (CA)111,34716.52
City & County of San Francisco23817.00
City of Azusa14,66713.33
City of Banning - (CA)10,98520.18
City of Burbank Water and Power46,21516.51
City of Colton - (CA)16,66116.16
City of Corona - (CA)98615.59
City of Glendale - (CA)74,78319.96
City of Healdsburg - (CA)4,82317.13
City of Lodi - (CA)21,94017.48
City of Moreno Valley - (CA)5,57620.03
City of Lompoc - (CA)13,16515.55
City of Palo Alto - (CA)25,57914.28
City of Pasadena - (CA)55,76318.23
City of Redding - (CA)37,87816.76
City of Riverside - (CA)97,34716.12
City of Roseville - (CA)52,18115.54
City of Santa Clara - (CA)46,85912.27
City of Shasta Lake - (CA)4,16617.36
City of Ukiah - (CA)6,44913.62
City of Vernon7311.85
Imperial Irrigation District132,63212.93
Lassen Municipal Utility District9,03215.70
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power1,329,96816.65
Liberty Utilities42,32313.79
Merced Irrigation District7,41816.02
Modesto Irrigation District97,93517.81
PacifiCorp35,70413.88
Pacific Gas & Electric Co.3,998,18721.18
Sacramento Municipal Util Dist552,67814.06
San Diego Gas & Electric Co1,280,26422.09
Southern California Edison Co4,362,15016.60
Pittsburg Power Company34822.60
Plumas-Sierra Rural Elec Coop6,60618.58
Surprise Valley Electrification2,8258.79
Truckee Donner P U D12,23715.60
Turlock Irrigation District73,39316.01
Valley Electric Assn, Inc1213.11

Historical California electricity prices, 2008 to 2017


The average price of residential electricity in California, over the past ten years, is 15.86 cents per Kilowatt hour. This is 31% more than than the US average price of 12.07 cents per kWh. Because your state historically has had high electricity prices, there’s a good chance that prices will continue to be high in the future. This is a good argument for going solar.

Why is this important to know? Depending on the size of your system, owning home solar reduces or eliminates the effect of electricity price increases.


Historical California electricity prices (cents per kilowatt hour)

CA prices
US prices
2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
CA prices13.81¢14.74¢14.75¢14.78¢15.34¢16.23¢16.25¢16.99¢17.39¢18.31¢
US prices11.26¢11.51¢11.54¢11.72¢11.88¢12.13¢12.52¢12.65¢12.55¢12.89¢


By looking at the trend in electricity prices over the past decade, you can get a better idea of whether high or low prices in your state are a recent change, or part of a long term trend. Because solar panels last a really long time (most come with 25 year power warranties), going solar protects you from future changes in electricity price. Basically, by paying for a system now, you can lock in your cost of electricity for two or even three decades.



Environmental report for California electricity

Depending on the type of fuel they use, power plants produce differing amounts of air pollution. This is measured as units of pollution per megawatt hour (mWh) of electricity.

For every mWh of electricity generated, California power plants produce on average:

  • 216 kilograms of CO2, which is 53% less than the US average of 459 kg.
  • 7 grams of SO2, which is 98% less than the US average of 411 g.
  • 332 grams of NOx, which is 11% less than the US average of 373 g.

In the power generation estimate listed above, The Solar Nerd calculator determined that an unshaded, south-facing 6 kilowatt PV system would generate about 9,871 kWh in an average year.

This means that putting a 6 kW solar panel system on your house would prevent 2,132 kilograms of CO2, 69 grams of SO2, and 3,277 grams of NOx from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The carbon offset of these solar panels would be about equivalent to planting 124 trees every year! (One deciduous tree left to grow for 10 years offsets 17.2 kg of CO2, according to the EPA.)

CA state average electricity emissions
CA
US
Glossary:
CO2 is carbon dioxide and is a primary greenhouse gas.
SO2 is sulphur dioxide. It damages the human respiratory system and contributes to acid rain.
NOx refers to nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog, acid rain, and lung damage.


Calculate your home solar incentives for Chico

Use our calculator to determine the financial payback of a home solar systemand to get a solar performance estimate customized to your home, including federal, state, and local incentives.



Ready to go solar in Chico?

Use our free service to find qualified solar contractors and get multiple quotes on a solar panel installation in Buffalo.

Home solar quotes in Chico
Sources:
This report was prepared with data from the good people at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Data, the US Energy Information Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.